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High End Gear - Recording in Room Audio Interfaces
Old 30th June 2015
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
High End Gear - Recording in Room

Hello Everyone!

This is my first post, so I will keep it short and sweet.

I currently rap with a group of friends and long story short - our home made studio that was built in our friends garage is going to have to get put down. Basically the neighbors put in a complaint with the city and now we have to tear down our studio to make it compliant with the city. We should have thought this through, but we didn't think anyone in their right mind would put in a complaint for a "living structure" in the garage which is what the neighbors said. it's not even loud, these neighbors just have a problem with us...

Anyways I am looking to build a mini/portable home studio setup in my room. I really want to create the highest quality of music - something like the professionals.

I am looking into purchasing some gear and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Here is what I am looking at so far:

Microphone: Neumann U87ai
Preamp: Avalon 737
DAW: Protools 11
Audio Interface - not sure - HELP!!
Headphones - not sure - HELP!!
Studio Monitors - not sure - HELP!!
Room treatment - some studio foam/foam shield

I will be recording on a 2013 Mac Book Pro Retina - Should I make any upgrades to this?

I appreciate all the feedback and I also expect to see a lot of criticism on the U87 and Avalon mix. I HAVEN'T TRIED the microphone or preamp yet, but I sure will before I make a purchase. I've looked into renting, but in my area it seems so expensive (San Jose, CA). I'd rather almost just purchase it and see what the return policy is like in case I don't sound good on the mic.

Thank you for all your help in advance!
Old 30th June 2015
  #2
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Re: the interface, will you ever be recording more than two tracks at a time? How much real instrument recording will you be doing? Drums?

There are less expensive options than the U87 that are just as good or better. I would recommend a Michael Joly Hulk 990 for about $500. The Avalon is not bad but I would wonder how budget oriented you are and whether you would do better to spend elsewhere. Look for a used pair of Denon AH-D2000 headphones for under $300. Zen Pro Audio modded Yamaha HS8 for $900 for monitors. Stay away from acoustic foam. Look into GIK or Real Traps. Do the acoustic treatment right. Ask them and take their advice.

How much RAM on the MB Pro?

Last edited by Piedpiper; 30th June 2015 at 03:51 AM..
Old 30th June 2015
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thank you!

I won't be recording more than two tracks at a time. I usually purchase my hip hop instrumental beats and also have a couple friends that make them as well. So, mostly it will be the instrumental loaded into Pro Tools and then recording the vocals. I don't plan on doing any real instrument at this time, but that's also why I want to make this kind of like a mobile studio that isn't too hard to take down and put up somewhere else.

I will definitely look into the Michael Joy Hulk, but as far as budget I'd like to stay around $8,000 max for now. This is something I could continuously put money into over time. With the budget being said what do you think?

Our setup at our studio right now isn't very expensive, but I'd like to upgrade equipment to something of higher quality - we have a mic that is around $300 and a focus rite sapphire pro interface, we use my friends identical macbook pro and use Rockit speakers ($400 total)

RAM on MB is 8GB 1600 Mhz, Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5.

I know room treatment is a large part of making a great recording, but I am not really trying to build a little closet studio. I think some good foam, microphone shield and possibly some drapes/curtains.

Thanks again!
Old 30th June 2015
  #4
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shreddoggie's Avatar
San Ho huh? Figures those satanic brogrammers in their maggot existence would complain. Maybe they are afraid of rap music? I hear it is often made by Afro-American people saying things like "Beat a police outa shape and when I'm finished, bring the yellow tape" scary stuff - no wonder... If you want I'll come down and nail a headless live chicken to their front door at 3:00 am - that usually works.

re: gear - I am not sure why the Avalon is so highly esteemed by the rap peeps, I am guessing it is because it looks like it belongs with Hennesey and playas and bein' up in the club cos you paid an sheet, but what do I know, maybe it is the sound that works for the style. I think there may be many alternatives that are as good or better for you that would cost less. I don't know what the go-to for rapping is but I'd try on the rap forum and see what they recommend that ISN'T an Avalon... just to see. Then go demo stuff.

U87 is certainly a standby and rarely a bad choice but that doesn't mean its the best choice for you. There are plenty of places you can demo mics and find whats the best for you - probably the advice most experienced people would give. A nice high quality dynamic can be surprisingly perfect with the right voice.

Leos, Cutting Edge, Audio Images all were good people last time I checked and are happy to help people get the sound that's right for them.

also: God bless you for being in San Ho and trying to make some sort of art rather than assisting in the wholesale destruction of art as we know it - the main raison d'etre for all your neighbors as far as I can tell. Let me know if you need help with the chicken.
Old 30th June 2015
  #5
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Piedpiper's Avatar
If you are just doing vocals, you don't need more than an Apogee Duet, or MBox Pro for a bit more, and it's quite good. Do you already have Protools? If not, the Mbox Pro comes with it. Make sure you get it bundled with the full version rather than the express version.

I actually prefer the Hulk to the U87 though ultimately I am partial to good tube mics. I would buy the Hulk and see how it suits your voice and go up from there, though you have to spend heavily to get much better. Maybe go to a studio sometime that has a serious classic mic collection and see what suits your voice best from the U47, U67, M49, C12, ELA M251 range and then get something modeled after what works from FLEA, Telefunken, Pearlman, Bock, Wunder, or the like in the $3-5k range.

You might then do the same for preamp flavors, and compressors as well, though you can always track uncompressed and deal with it after with good plugins. If you want a channel strip with compressor and EQ built in, you might want to check out RETRO, or the Manley Voxbox. If you want to just invest in the preamp first, for tubes try a Manley Dual Mono pre or Chandler REDD .47 for something more assertive, or for solid state a Shadow Hills Gama, or Aurora GTQ2 for the NEVE 1073 thing with EQ, but better. The Mbox pres and converters are quite good n clean so maybe focus on the mic first and then compare your pre options with the stock pres.

The thing about foam is that it doesn't work very well. You are much better off getting something from GIK or Real Traps. It will be MUCH more effective and just as portable. Curtains do next to nothing, only effecting the highest frequencies. Trust me on this... or don't. Ask around and you'll find anyone who knows will say the same.

Your MBP should be fine. The Sapphire and Rokits are not great, as I'm sure you know. The HS8 will be much more reliable for mixing. The Denon AH-D2000 are the best value and the most accurate affordable headphones. They can be used for tracking since they are closed back, are extremely comfortable, and easy to drive. They have been discontinued so you have to go used, or new old stock on eBay...

Last edited by Piedpiper; 30th June 2015 at 07:27 AM..
Old 30th June 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
Hello Everyone!

This is my first post, so I will keep it short and sweet.

I currently rap with a group of friends and long story short - our home made studio that was built in our friends garage is going to have to get put down. Basically the neighbors put in a complaint with the city and now we have to tear down our studio to make it compliant with the city. We should have thought this through, but we didn't think anyone in their right mind would put in a complaint for a "living structure" in the garage which is what the neighbors said. it's not even loud, these neighbors just have a problem with us...

Anyways I am looking to build a mini/portable home studio setup in my room. I really want to create the highest quality of music - something like the professionals.

I am looking into purchasing some gear and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Here is what I am looking at so far:

Microphone: Neumann U87ai
Preamp: Avalon 737
DAW: Protools 11
Audio Interface - not sure - HELP!!
Headphones - not sure - HELP!!
Studio Monitors - not sure - HELP!!
Room treatment - some studio foam/foam shield

I will be recording on a 2013 Mac Book Pro Retina - Should I make any upgrades to this?

I appreciate all the feedback and I also expect to see a lot of criticism on the U87 and Avalon mix. I HAVEN'T TRIED the microphone or preamp yet, but I sure will before I make a purchase. I've looked into renting, but in my area it seems so expensive (San Jose, CA). I'd rather almost just purchase it and see what the return policy is like in case I don't sound good on the mic.

Thank you for all your help in advance!
definitely NO to ai, avalon probably not a good idea either. It's decent but not worth the money.

personally I would consider getting a nice PC and use reaper. Then spend the extra cash on converters. Buy some nice API mic pres. AKG or beyer heaphones. Maybe some KRK monitors. For converters I would go with an RME 9632 and maybe a used apogee rosetta.

If you buy an ai with an avalon you are spending way too much money on very mediocre gear. There are much better values. an AI is like 2k. You can buy like 10 shure or AT mics that sound better. ai is terrible. It would be a decent mic for $400.
Old 30th June 2015
  #7
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
In order:

1. Room: GIK Acoustics Room Kit Package #2 - GIK Acoustics
2. Mic: Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone with Case Lowest Price on eBay | eBay
3. Monitors: Event Opal | Sweetwater.com
4. Preamps/AD Interface: API A2D Mic Pre/Converter - Vintage King Audio
5. DA Monitor Output/Headphones: Lavry Black DA-11 - Vintage King Audio
6. Headphones: Sennheiser HD25-1 II - Vintage King Audio

These items will get you much closer to the quality you are seeking than the items you mention, and keep you in a reasonable price ballpark. These are items that would go very well with R&B/Hip Hop music. I listed them in order of importance if you are prioritizing purchases on a limited budget. The GIK Kit2 will get you started well, and you might look at the Kit3 if you have the cash. Proper acoustic environment is a crucial first step. The Manley Reference is one of the best Hip Hop mics, one of the best mics period, really. The Opal monitors fare very strongly against even far more expensive ones, and have excellent low end, which you will need. The API A2D gives you two preamps and DI, which you will need, and are much better than what you were considering. You'll have a killer API color to give your samples and vocals some balls, run keys, samples, whatever, for that API sound. The AD conversion on the API is fantastic. The Lavry Black 11 is one of the finest DA converters out there, and the included headphone amp is amazing--both the DA and headphone amp are extremely accurate. The Sennheiser HD25's are very good, standard phones, closed-back, which will help with isolation you need.

The only thing missing is a volume control for your monitors--the SPL Volume 2 is a nice solution. You need to use this to control monitor volume. A lot of people starting out don't realize if they skip this, and use the DAW to turn up and down, they are reducing bit rate and output quality. Set the outputs from DAW properly, then use the volume on something like this--here's a link: http://vintageking.com/spl-volume-2

Another nice thing on a setup like this is everything is USB and fairly portable (other than the room kit, obviously). Besides lugging the monitors around, if you had your ProTools 10/11 on say, a decent MacBook Pro, you could tote it all around wherever you need. You can find a lot of these items used, here on GearSlutz Classifieds, or Ebay, whatever. The API comes up a lot, as does the Manley and the Opals. The Lavry, not so much, probly have to get new. If you had the money, I'd get the Neve DPD instead of the API, but that's another grand, and the API is awesome.

Keeping everything modular like this lets you expand however you want in pieces without any fluff in your chain. Every piece is a keeper, can be useful for years to come, and last just as long or longer. Each piece should retain value fairly well. The total price for everything would be somewhere in the $8-9K range, if you shop around.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Last edited by natpub; 30th June 2015 at 08:54 AM..
Old 30th June 2015
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thank you all for your help! I do appreciate it.

I am going to look into some of the products you have recommended and go from there.

I know room treatment is a huge part of recording, but do you think I really need the kit from GIK? Could I get a few pieces and also get the shield for the microphone?

I am going to look into the Manley and will ultimately test it out. I'd like to try everything out before purchasing, but renting seems so expensive! I will see if there are any high quality studios in my area.

The Event Opal monitors look nice, but to be honest I wasn't looking to spend $1500 on speakers. Is there another solution that is about half the cost?

I really like Pro Tools and I am comfortable using it. Otherwise I'd definitely try Reaper.

Let me know what you guys think! I am definitely open to other options for microphones, preamps, and audio interface.

I am kind of a noob when it comes to equipment, but are preamps always needed? At the studio we have now we just have the microphone going into the Focusrite which I guess is a preamp/audio interface all in one?
Old 30th June 2015
  #9
Gear Addict
 

As has been mentioned a number of times already, do not do studio foam. It's just not going to pull it off. That said, it seems GIK and Real Traps keep coming up as alternates. I'll throw another in the mix, ATS Acoustics has treated me very well. They are less expensive, that said, they are not membrane type absorbers. They are fairly simple, but nicely built Rockwool absorbers. I have two of their corner bass traps (low freq range) and 8 of their 2'x4'x4" traps and they do an excellent job for a reasonable price ($1k). They're piled in a corner to keep reflections out of the live end of the mic. Behind the mic is a Realtraps PVB, and some HEAVY sheets hung over the remaining walls to knock down the flutter. Anyhow, pleased as pie with ATS, and hope to give them more business in the future. Realtraps was also great to deal with. The PVB is excellent, but their prices put a room treatment out of my reach.
Old 30th June 2015
  #10
JAT
Lives for gear
The first step is to get a good, basic recording chain; learn that and then figure out what sounds best to you and for you. Since you say you can keep adding money as you go along I'd refrain from dumping too much money in any one item since your taste will change once you are able to hear the differences. That will happen (hopefully), so it is best to get solid equipment that you can grow into and yet aren't stuck w/ (like an 87) because of the price.

1st thing is the room. It doesn't have to be perfect, just OK. You can make a room better just by putting furniture in it, esp. big soft things (sofa, bed, etc). Think about how any room sounds when you empty it to paint? If it is bright and slappy put up some drapes/wall hangings. It will have bass problems, even if you can't hear them. absorption helps. You can buy a prefab kit, or go down to Home Depot etc. and order some rockwool. Comes in 15 inches by 4 foot pieces. Buy some material to wrap it in and sew it up (still waiting for my daughter to do that, tho). Then get some burlap bags (coffee houses that roast their own will sell them/give them to you. That gives you something else to wrap them in to hang them from the corners etc. Voilá, 5 efficient bass traps for sub $100.

Next, kill 2 birds w/ one stone. Get the Tascam UH-7000 interface. Excellent preamps and great converters. Good enough it should take you a few years to spot any difference in a blind test between those and high-end boutique hardware. $400. If you want a more vintage tone than those preamps get a Warm Audio pre - another $400. It will help train your ears to use transformers. The only downside to the Tascam is high latency, but w/ the money you save you can get a low latency interface w/ AES digital and plug the UH7000 sound through the digital in/out (tho you might find the Tascam is good enough latency - 11 ms. on my system).

A single channel strip is a good idea, too, but pricey. My suggestion is the RND Portico II. Can't go wrong, but you may find another floats your boat a little more. But you won't know until your ears get accustomed to what kind of hardware sounds best to you. Plunking down $3000 and then finding out the Avalon is better for you at half the price is a good way to waste money - almost as good as upgrading from the Avalon to the RND. The same goes for a mic. The 87 is a great mic, but you might find the SM-7 is better for you at a fraction of the price.

Get your room ok, get some good speakers (my suggestion w/o spending 30% or 110% of your budget is the Yamaha HS 7), get the Tascam and start working on music. Test some mics (use some of that money to rent studio time at a place w/ lots of mics), get one and you are good to go w/ potential for pro sound. Then learn to sound like a pro. Too many people ask what equipment they need, when they should be asking how many hours do I need to put in before I can make my cheap system sound good. It is really a catch 22, because it is a bit quicker to learn what sounds good w/ high end gear, but if you buy it you may decide later it ain't the best fit.
Old 30th June 2015
  #11
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
I know room treatment is a huge part of recording, but do you think I really need the kit from GIK? Could I get a few pieces and also get the shield for the microphone?
The shield is marketing BS for people who don't know any better and would like to think this will do it. Sound familiar? Think about it. In cardioid mode, which is what you will be using, the mic is dead in the back, which is the only place the shield blocks. It's a calculated money maker that feeds off ignorance. I'm overstating only slightly. I has a very small effect but might as well be nil. It is the room corners where the sound in the room builds up and fires a jumbled mess back out like a horn loaded speaker that are your primary target, as well as whatever surfaces are where the mic pick up pattern is pointed at. So, yes, you need the kit from GIK, or something like it. If you had very large panels that could stand behind and to the sides of you, IOW, the opposite of the shield, that could work, but they would have to be 8 feet tall and similarly wide to encompass you and the pick up pattern of the mic. Easier and more effective to deal with the room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
The Event Opal monitors look nice, but to be honest I wasn't looking to spend $1500 on speakers. Is there another solution that is about half the cost?
See my earlier recommendation for the Zen Pro Yamaha HS8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
I am kind of a noob when it comes to equipment, but are preamps always needed? At the studio we have now we just have the microphone going into the Focusrite which I guess is a preamp/audio interface all in one?
Correct, you can just use the built in pres and converters, both A to D and D to A, in the interface. The issue is then the quality. I good interface will have good clean pres, converters, headphone amp, and monitor controller. The Avid Mbox Pro is actually very good, especially for the price. It may be all you need, and will be small and convenient, yet have everything you need, including two headphone outs, which will be handy for singer and engineer. You can still add outboard pres that may have specific qualities that you are after.

One other thought. You can get a Digi 002R interface with the Black Lion Audio Signature modification for crazy cheap right now on eBay for about $600. It will be better than most options at any price and is still compatible with Protools even though it is old, which is why people are dumping them. It will compare well with several thousand dollars of outboard and have more than enough ins and outs for you purposes. You may still want to get a serious preamp for the particular qualities it offers, but you won't need to.

Last edited by Piedpiper; 1st July 2015 at 05:27 AM..
Old 30th June 2015
  #12
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
1st thing is the room. It doesn't have to be perfect, just OK. You can make a room better just by putting furniture in it, esp. big soft things (sofa, bed, etc). Think about how any room sounds when you empty it to paint? If it is bright and slappy put up some drapes/wall hangings. It will have bass problems, even if you can't hear them. absorption helps. You can buy a prefab kit, or go down to Home Depot etc. and order some rockwool. Comes in 15 inches by 4 foot pieces. Buy some material to wrap it in and sew it up (still waiting for my daughter to do that, tho). Then get some burlap bags (coffee houses that roast their own will sell them/give them to you. That gives you something else to wrap them in to hang them from the corners etc. Voilá, 5 efficient bass traps for sub $100.
Furniture will help but there are too many problems that are likely to be left over to rely on just that. The rock wool option is good, or Owens Corning 703. Just make sure you run it from floor to ceiling and use at least 4 inches thick. 703 will be much easier to do this with than the rock wool, and will be more portable. The cleaner solution is just buy the kit from GIK but you can make your own for less, no question. Talking to GIK is a good start.
Old 30th June 2015
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thanks PiedPiper! I am definitely going to look into GIK and take "studio foam/microphone shield" out of my vocabulary.

I am also going to look into the products you recommended and the Yamaha speakers. I've just heard mixed reviews on them (like all products).

I guess I am really just trying to get a lot better quality and sound than what we have right now at our current studio set up.

The current studio is 8 feet by 8 feet and has carpet and completely studio foamed out. We do use the $300-400 focusright and $250 mic. I think our quality right now is just decent and I'd like to go for that professional/radio quality sound.
I know mixing is a big part and we do like to use plugins through pro tools. This is also what dragged me into liking the Avalon because of the EQ/Compressor even though I've heard mixed reviews.

Thanks for all the help so far guys! I really appreciate it. I am definitely leaning towards a cheaper studio set up for now, but quality is always in the back of my mind as I am not satisfied with the sound we get through our current studio set up.
Old 30th June 2015
  #14
Lives for gear
Stay away from "Foam" room treatment and do it right. Start off with 703/705 fiberglass wall treatment as needed. Then treat the corners with some nice (not foam) bass traps. A properly treated room brings out the best in your microphone choice and other equipment. A great mic going through a great preamp in an untreated room is going to sound like crap since that mic will pick up everything that is wrong with the room.

As far as DAWS go, use what works best for your way of working. I love Pro Tools some people don't, but I am not going to stop using it just because other people don't like it.

Mics, try out as many as you can and see which works best for you. If it just so happens to be expensive, then that's just the nature of the beast. Same goes for if it's not expensive. I put on blinders when people say not to get a particular mic. It's not their room, budget, or vox.

Headphones, again, lots of choices out there. For Mixing, I use HD650's.

Preamps- Lot's of nice ones out there. Again, try out as many as you can and decide that way. The same goes for Monitors and Interface. GS has a lot of hype. If you want to be disappointed, make your purchases based on the hype.

Last edited by Alrod; 30th June 2015 at 07:43 PM..
Old 30th June 2015
  #15
Some thoughts:

The quality of your final product will have much to do with the quality of the instrumentals you are purchasing.

Your monitoring needs will be determined by the room you will be mixing in. Don't buy huge speakers for a tiny bedroom. Buy a smaller setup and a sub that you can control.

Placement of your mobile rig in the room will make a big difference. Give your speakers the room they need.

If you don't want to fully treat a room, concentrate on the basics: the area around the speakers and the wall behind where you will be mixing. Absorb the bass and float your monitors. Get rid of rattling noises, noise from electronics, and weird resonant sound gnomes. That will make a huge difference.

Without a booth, you will need at least 2 pair of headphones that won't bleed into the mic or fatigue your ears.

Don't dump your money into a preamp. The difference in quality is not as much as you might think. I can personally vouch for the Little Labs LMNOPre as an inexpensive pre that performs above the price point. It has some interesting features that make it an excellent pre to use on hip hop vocals.

A u87 is a sensitive mic. Without proper treatment, you will pick up as much of the room as you will the rapper. You are better off buying a very directional broadcast mic in an untreated room. The Electrovoice RE-20 and SM7b work very well in poorly treated rooms. Since rap is more spoken word than anything, broadcasting mics make sense here.

Avoid channel strips if you can. Tracking with outboard compression and eq can screw up an otherwise perfect take if you aren't careful. Also, you may want different processing for different artists. I'd pick up some quality plugins so you aren't stuck with a hammer when you need a wrench.

Pro Tools is fine. For an interface or converters, I like the new Motu gear if you are on a budget. I have an cheap 828x and also have a Lynx Hilo. The differences are noticeable but not so much that it makes the MOTU sound like crap... A lot of the differences people talk about on these forums come from anal retentive perfectionists. Again, the differences are not huge.

Take all the extra money you just saved and buy a second set of very differently voiced monitors to A/B with. Learn your gear and proper recording techniques. Teach your artists to work a microphone properly. Buy books on mixing and keep detailed notes on what works for you. And if you haven't learn about the music biz and how to promote and market yourself. That may make a bigger difference at the end of the day than any of the gear you buy.


Oh... and buy an H2o DMX light. The ambiance will make your studio 10000% cooler to work in.
Old 30th June 2015
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thanks DomiBabi!

So you recommend putting a Electrovoice RE-20/SM7B into a Lynx Hilo. It doesn't seem right putting a $300-500 microphone into the $2500 Lynx Hilo?

I am definitely going to do some room treatment with the GIK and other well known absorption products. Having smaller monitors would definitely be a plus since I am looking to do this in my bedroom.

Thanks!
Old 30th June 2015
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
Thanks DomiBabi!

So you recommend putting a Electrovoice RE-20/SM7B into a Lynx Hilo. It doesn't seem right putting a $300-500 microphone into the $2500 Lynx Hilo?

I am definitely going to do some room treatment with the GIK and other well known absorption products. Having smaller monitors would definitely be a plus since I am looking to do this in my bedroom.

Thanks!
Anyone who tells you that there is a problem with using gear from different price ranges together is a fool (and probably a stuck up @sshole).

Use the right tool for the job. Sometimes the most expensive gear is just not the right tool. I have a $5k compressor that just SUCKS for some types of material...

I sometimes do these on location workshops, where I teach kids to record (I went to college to be a teacher). Some of the places I'm sent are untreated/no booth, and a condenser mic would make my life hell. Broadcast mics are designed to have great off-axis rejection and be very directional... That's why practically all radio stations use them.... even the really big budget ones. When you hear Howard Stern, Funk Flex, etc...

You will be recording ITB. Getting stuff "in" correctly and hearing back what comes "out" clearly is going to be your biggest priority. Once you have that settled, it's all practice and preference...
Old 1st July 2015
  #18
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
The SM7 and RE20 are great mics, I have (an frequently use) both. It's like a 57, inexpensive but great for what they do. I recommended the Manley because you were asking for what would High End be. If you are trying to go cheaper, I would look at an SM7, the Antelope Zen, and some of the monitors suggested. Personally, I wouldn't be skimping on the monitors. Best regards.

Last edited by natpub; 1st July 2015 at 03:19 AM..
Old 1st July 2015
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
Thanks DomiBabi!

So you recommend putting a Electrovoice RE-20/SM7B into a Lynx Hilo. It doesn't seem right putting a $300-500 microphone into the $2500 Lynx Hilo?

I am definitely going to do some room treatment with the GIK and other well known absorption products. Having smaller monitors would definitely be a plus since I am looking to do this in my bedroom.

Thanks!
I frequently record a $300 SM7 into a $5000 Avid IO....so I certainly agree that it's not the price of the gear.

However, in your setup, you'd be wasting money buying a $2500 stereo converter, then using it in a partially treated room with $750 monitors.

It's not the absolute cost of the speakers, it's the whole setup. Buying a really expensive converter and using it in an ok chain is silly - you're wasting money on something you're not getting the full benefit of. Unless you plan on upgrading everything else in the near future, spread the budget and get better everything.
Old 1st July 2015
  #20
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
I am also going to look into the products you recommended and the Yamaha speakers. I've just heard mixed reviews on them (like all products).
Of course there are much better monitors, but at that price, good luck... The ones I use are three times that price and compare well to those with another 0 in their price. Are they worth it? You bet... Are they in your budget? No.
Old 1st July 2015
  #21
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
Stay away from "Foam" room treatment and do it right. Start off with 703/705 fiberglass wall treatment as needed. Then treat the corners with some nice (not foam) bass traps.
I would recommend treating the corners first actually... and possibly only the corners, especially if you can really do it properly, as in cutting off the corners floor to ceiling with two foot wide 4 inch thick 703. You may not need anything else, especially in a small room.
Old 1st July 2015
  #22
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Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
I would recommend treating the corners first actually... and possibly only the corners, especially if you can really do it properly, as in cutting off the corners floor to ceiling with two foot wide 4 inch thick 703. You may not need anything else, especially in a small room.
I guess it depends. Yes of course bass traps are important, but throw a condenser mic into the equation and you are more than likely going to pick up some nasty flutter echo if you have nothing on the walls and ceiling. Perhaps the message to to OP should be "treat the entire room as needed."
Old 1st July 2015
  #23
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Thread Starter
Thanks guys. I am going to look into investing $$$ into decent speakers. $1500 for speakers might be my max budget at this time, so I will see what I can find.

I am going to be going to a studio next week to try out the Nuemann U87, so I will keep you posted. Since my room is not gonna be 100% treated I am still going to look into the other microphones mentioned. The GIK kit is something I can definitely invest in.

Is it better to record into a little corner in my closet with proper treatment or just record say into the middle of the room with the GIK kit placed throughout my room? I can get you guys a picture of my room and maybe you can help determine where I should set up shop.

Thanks!
Old 1st July 2015
  #24
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Middle o the room... stay away from any corners.
Old 1st July 2015
  #25
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Thread Starter
Awesome thanks! I am leaning towards the Zen Pro Audio modded Yamaha HS8 that you had mentioned. If i buy these speakers I will most likely need the audio interface in order to plug them in right?

I am going to start getting the gear I can use today like (speakers, Protools, GIK, audio interface, headphones) and then move towards the microphone. I will try and get a picture of my room up soon, so you guys can give me your 2 cents.
Old 1st July 2015
  #26
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natpub's Avatar
The purpose of recommending the GIK kits was to provide something where you didn't have to know all about acoustics for it to work, or get into all the mess and hassle that can come from working with rock wool and trying to get it set up properly. I know you may see pics of people using these sound shields around the mic, like the SE Reflexion filter. I personally hate how these sound, and loosing some air in the vocal recording can make it really hard to sit in the mix. The purpose of acoustically treating your room is so what you hear and mix is flattened a bit, so that you balance frequencies of the recording rather than incorrect boosts or cuts coming from room exaggerations. As far as recording, just having a very quiet space with early reflections reduced is good. Look at YouTube vids of people actually recording professional vocals. NOT the vids of people posing and staging vocal recordings, where they are all up on the mic and wearing makeup and ****. Look at ones where someone famous was caught in the middle of recording their vocal. You won't see any foam shells around the mic, you won't see them all up in a tiny closet. They will most likely be in a very quiet vocal booth that also greatly reduces any early reflection by having absorbtive walls. Here's a decent example: .
You'll notice the music stand--I know people who will cover the stand in foam or cloth to reduce any reflections off it also (I'll do this from time to time). You may need to use the bass roll-off on the mic, if it has one, to eliminate any very low frequency sounds like rumble from freeways or roads nearby. These can be so subtle they aren't noticeable at the time, but if you go back in good headphones and check, you can hear tiny sounds. Air conditioning (!!) is the worst offender, and we always have to turn ours off when recording at home. Refrigerators too. Added noise from any mic'd up source contributes to your overall noise floor, and makes it increasingly harder to have enough space and headroom to do a good mix that isn't muddy or noisy.

Bear in mind too, use a good pop filter (like you see in all the pics)--pops and plosives can be really hard to manage, and virtually impossible to remove once in the recording. Distance from the mic is an aesthetic decision. Closer can sound more immediate, intimate and sits very up front in the mix. But, it can be hard (if not impossible) to go back with reverbs and delays trying to create a little more space in a vocal recorded too close. I usually like the artist a couple feet back from the mic, unless I'm trying to get an effect. I will use the pop filter to move them back, putting it where I want their mouth, rather than close to the mic. You can experiment with different distances and placements, as this is part of the recording learning process and artistic decisions about your space. Test different things, listen both on headphones and in a mix. See what works best for what application. Hope this helps.

Last edited by natpub; 2nd July 2015 at 02:49 AM..
Old 1st July 2015
  #27
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natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeOwnwho View Post
Awesome thanks! I am leaning towards the Zen Pro Audio modded Yamaha HS8 that you had mentioned. If i buy these speakers I will most likely need the audio interface in order to plug them in right?
I think you may be a little confused as to what an "interface" means. Mostly, these days, they are combo units that have preamps (usually not all that great), combined with AD converters to go in, DA converters to go out to monitors, and headphone outputs. Sometimes a Hi-Z DI is included to jack instruments straight in, as well as MIDI in and out. Because these are all combined together, a lot of times the quality of each part is not fantastic. Also, since you bought them all combined, if you want to upgrade, you end up having to scrap the thing and then buy something else. What I consider a waste of money.

As much as possible, you may want to look at buying modular--that is, all the parts separately. This is because when you want to change something, or upgrade, you don't have to ditch everything, and can instead just do the one part. Now, combo interfaces can be very affordable, and as you might guess the various parts can be cheap as a result. Subtle bits of noise and unpleasant coloration can result, and build up over multiple tracks until you have too noisy of a recording to use commercially.

There are some very good combo interfaces out there, including the UA Apollo, the Metric Halo stuff, the Prism of course (pricy!), the Antelope Zen, etc. These give you a plug-n-play solution you can run, without knowing any specialized stuff about it. On the other hand, you may want to go modular, and there are great units that do all the same things, but require a little more knowledge. My suggestions above, of the API A2D (combines preamp and AD), and the Lavry Black 11 (a separate DA to output to your monitors and headphones) is something like this. AD/DA units tend to come together, and you will probably find that though you only want 2 channels now, you want more in the future. Something combined with several channels, like the Antelope Orion, or the Lynx Aurora 8/16 with USB, can be great. I've used the Lynx for years and love it. This allows you to use separate preamps, and buy only 1 or more, as you go along (of whatever sound and flavor you like).

It's all a lot to consider, and expensive audio is never something to rush into quickly. Be careful of all the opinions (mine included), and try everything you can. Most pro audio dealers will send you something on trial (assuming you can produce a credit card with that much available on it!), so you can test it in your own room. Sorry to spout out so much info, but it pushes my buttons when I see someone running out with cash-in-hand, to buy stuff they may later regret. Happened plenty to me ya see :-) Hope this helps. Best.
Old 2nd July 2015
  #28
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raggedman's Avatar
 

Do NOT place your mic in the center of the room.....

Go for 38% of the long dimension.
Old 2nd July 2015
  #29
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Thread Starter
Thanks for all your help guys!

So now I kind of have my mind set on getting the Hulk Microphone or trying out the Sm7b by Shure. I hear a lot of great things about that microphone and it is a wholllleeeee lot cheaper than the U87.

If I go with the SM7b what would you recommend me getting as far as an interface and would I need a preamp.

To answer your question @natpub I am a little confused on the whole interface and preamp. At our current studio we have an all in one Focusrite which works out okay, but I'd like to upgrade to get better sound quality.
With the SM7b what else would I need to get this going?

My new updated equipment list:
Microphone: SM7B
Acoustic treatment: GIK
Speakers: Zen Pro Audio modded Yamaha HS8

Things I am still unsure about:
Headphones (not too worried about this)
Preamp
Audio inteface

Thanks!
Old 2nd July 2015
  #30
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Piedpiper's Avatar
The Hulk will be a lot clearer and than the SM7B, which tends to mellow out aggressive vocals, and also needs a ton of clean quiet gain for anything but the loudest of vocals. Any GOOD interface will work but the cheaper ones will be noisy when pushed up, as well as not very refined, transparent or punchy. For more affordable, I would go with the MBox pro or even better the used Digi 002R with the BLA Signature mod I mentioned earlier. Again, you will not need an outboard preamp at all if your interface is a good one. It is a preference if n when you want a particular flavor that your interface is not giving you. I suggest you start with a good interface and wait until you have some experience before expanding into outboard if at all.
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